Is it Second Manassas Campaign? Or Northern Virginia Campaign? I’m certain the proud folks in Orange and Culpeper Counties shudder at the inclusion in “Northern Virginia.”
In the 1920s, Virginia’s Conservation & Development Commission opted for the former name to title a series of markers tracing the steps of the campaign. The audience was a generation not far removed from the actual events. But, advancements in technology brought on significant changes to the way information was presented to the public. The Ford Model T was giving way to the Model A up in Detroit, with many comfort features (for that time…). Cars of that age needed safety glass, as speeds were picking up. In part that explains the large font used on those markers from the 1920s and 1930s.
The text comes across with the fluidity of a Western Union telegram.
Later, with reorganizations, different agencies took charge of the state marker program. Today the Department of Historic Resources authorizes the placement of markers.
Notice, despite the difference of about sixty-five years, the two markers have the same general outline and shape. The numbering sequence for Virginia markers follows a highway-region pattern. But I won’t bore the non-marker hunters with that story. But do notice the size of font is different on the marker placed in 2000. You might, if slowed down sufficiently to block traffic, be able to read it from a passing car. The audience must stop to fully consume this marker’s text. (Unfortunately, the agencies have retained the preference to place the markers on busy highways – faster vehicle speeds and smaller font is not a good combination for those stopping for the markers.)
Using the Historical Marker Database’s related marker feature, I’ve grouped some of these state historical markers into a set. The set is sort of in the sequence of events, but I wrestled between chronological and geographical order making some compromises. No doubt I missed a few that should be included. The map view of the set illustrates the broad range of this campaign – from Orange County to the outskirts of Washington.
I’m working up a Second Manassas Battlefield by Markers page. Should have it done before the 150th anniversary dates.